Curo's Chief Executive, Victor da Cunha has written to residents in Foxhill today with some important news about the future of the regeneration. The letter said:
I’m writing to update you with some important news about the future of Foxhill.
We have reluctantly taken the difficult decision to change our approach to regeneration at Foxhill. We will no longer consider demolition of homes on the Foxhill estate, either privately owned or belonging to Curo. Instead, we will work in partnership with local residents to create a new plan focussed on significant investment in the refurbishment of existing Curo-owned homes over the next few years. This will help give certainty to residents and deliver improvements to homes in Foxhill more quickly.
As you may know, Curo – a housing association with charitable status - bought the Ministry of Defence land at Foxhill in 2013 because of the opportunity it offered to bring investment and lasting improvements to the Foxhill estate for the benefit of its residents. We worked with B&NES council and local residents to develop a shared ambition for the new homes, improved connections and greater opportunities that could be created.
However, since 2013 many things have changed. We were clear from the start that to deliver high quality new homes and sufficient affordable homes through large-scale regeneration on the Foxhill estate we needed three things: community support, political support and government funding to increase the number of social rented homes proposed.
We’ve been working with and listening to the local community over the last five years. It’s clear that there is some opposition to the demolition of homes and to the loss of social housing that redevelopment would inevitably entail.
We have received varying levels of political support and we have received no clear decision about grant funding from central government.
Residents have told us that they no longer want to live with the uncertainty of what may happen to their home in the future. The recent legal action by a group of residents may result in further delays and uncertainty for 12 months or more. Even if this legal action is unsuccessful, this would not promote the necessary consensus to deliver a truly community-owned, successful project.
We have listened to the requests for clarity and we have acted. I realise that this may be disappointing news for many of you, and I am also deeply disappointed. However, we remain committed to providing great homes, supporting communities and improving lives for our tenants in Foxhill and in all the communities we serve.
I would like to thank all residents who have given their time and input to develop proposals for improvements in the area so far and hope this new approach will unite all local residents together behind a shared vision for the future of Foxhill.
Victor da Cunha